Late August is supposed to be a slow time, with summer ebbing, extra time to enjoy the sun. But somehow it always manages to be an exciting time here at WSB HQ. Almost exactly two years ago, your support helped plant the seeds of WSB’s transformation into a business, with seed money raised during our first and only Pledge Day. Today, we’re thrilled to announce our participation in a new journalistic collaboration involving our region’s largest news organization as well as three of our fellow independent, neighborhood-based online news publishers.
Here’s the announcement just sent out by the Seattle Times. No, this isn’t a purchase, an investment, or anything else formal. The Knight Foundation, which has been working hard to help navigate the choppy waters of the transformation of the news world, is leading and funding a groundbreaking experiment involving five regional/citywide news organizations nationwide – including the Times – to collaborate journalistically with small, independent news organizations like ours over the next year, and to figure out if the collaboration can result in even better coverage for the people they serve.
Collaboration is HUGE with us here – it’s the partnership we have with you. So much of what appears here starts with you – your e-mail, phone calls, questions, ideas, photos, tweets, FB notes, postal mail, and in-person conversations.
The Times has been showcasing some of our work for a while now (such as the reservoir-leaks story) and that’s what’s really different about this – instead of taking the tack some corporate media organizations have taken, trying to imitate neighborhood-based news organizations’ grass-roots coverage, it’s not creating new West Seattle, or Ballard, or Capitol Hill, or Rainier Valley pages/subsites – it will contextually showcase (link to) the best work of WSB and the other participants, and if the Times has a story we think you need to know about, we’ll do the same. Other possibilities, for starters: As a large organization, it also has databases and other information that we may be able to access in unique ways to get you better coverage. The rest – literally, the partners, including the Times, will be making it up as we go along, and that’s the point. The world of journalism is changing dramatically and there’s no way to know what’s around the corner till we get there.
Media partnerships are not a new concept – in my years of local TV, I was involved with more than a few. But official partnerships between new and old media are still relatively rare. This is truly an experiment, as WSB itself is, in a way – one that we thank you for supporting, as our continued growth has made it possible for us to bring you more and more coverage (with the help of other veteran journalists and photographers – and by the way, any in West Seattle/White Center who want to join the team, there’s room for more – and we pay! – let us know!).
– Tracy Record, WSB editor/co-publisher